As the season ended, neither the Pacers nor the Heat seemed particularly bothered with getting the 1 seed. In the end, Indiana kept it, and it'll be interesting to see if this comes back to bite Miami in the ass.
Atlanta Hawks (8) at Indiana Pacers (1)
Indiana is still a heavy favorite despite some chatter about how Pero Antic's ability to shoot the three will draw Hibbert out of the middle and disrupt Indiana's vaunted defense. In the end, Atlanta's offense still flows through their go-to guy Paul Millsap, and he really hasn't had much success against the Pacers this year. It should be a low scoring series just the way Indiana likes it, although Atlanta should be able to take a home game by shooting lights out from the outside.
Prediction: Indiana 4-1
Possible bets: Bet the under for the first two games, then the over for the next two.
Charlotte Bobcats (7) at Miami Heat (2)
Miami really hasn't had any inside presence for a while now, but that hasn't stopped them from winning two of the last three championships. Al Jefferson will have his way with them, but I just don't see how the rest of the team will score enough points to overcome Miami. It doesn't help that their forwards can't shoot and their guards are undersized facing Miami's aggressive trap scheme.
Prediction: Miami 4-0
Possible bets: Nothing really jumps out at me. Maybe a player prop taking the over on Al Jefferson's points or points+rebounds.
Brooklyn Nets (6) at Toronto Raptors (3)
Somehow the Nets are favored in this series despite being the 6th seed. They may have experience on their side, but they're lacking in both size down low and speed in the backcourt. One of the things people don't realize is that Toronto can play some pretty stifling defense. I see a lot of Joe Johnson or Paul Pierce isolations, and that won't get them through.
Prediction: Toronto 4-1
Possible bets: Bet Toronto to win the series. The odds for Toronto to win the series (around +130) represents great value. Bet the under in every game of the series as I expect that both teams will look to the defense as their best chance of winning the series.
Washington Wizards (5) at Chicago Bulls (4)
A really difficult matchup to predict as the Bulls' vaunted offense faces a team with as many as 7 different players who can put up double digit points. In the end, Chicago's defense should be too much, but Washington should hold their own in a close, tightly fought series.
Prediction: Chicago 4-3
Possible bets: Bet the underdog to win straight up every game. While I expect the series to go the distance, I think it's a punch-counterpunch situation where home field won't be enough of an edge to get a team through a tough game.
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